News roundup for Fri, Mar 18, 2022


Ukraine has joined the European power grid, decoupling its own grid from Russia. This will help the besieged country keep the juice flowing and prevent Russian sabotage from taking down their power.

The US will work with Slovakia to send more air defense systems to Ukraine. The US Secretary of State says sanctions will only be lifted with the full withdrawal of Russia. Zelenski pleads with Germany and other Western countries to do more to help.

A litany of war crimes and travesties are occurring in Ukraine. Among them, a maternity hospital was attacked:

The Council of Europe has expelled Russia. Russia is finding itself increasingly economically and politically isolated from the world.

Supply chain

The war in Ukraine is affecting the delivery of wheat and sunflower oil worldwide. The war could drive up wheat prices by another 8.5%, and climate change could make the situation worse.

Argentina is halting soybean meal and oil exports. Argentina is probably going to raise tariffs and taxes on these crops.

Fertilizer giant Yara is cutting fertilizer production in Italy and France. The output cuts are likely to have a negative impact on global supply.

Lockdowns in China threaten the production and trade of cars and electronics. Volkswagen and Toyota are joining Foxconn in suspending some production.

Cars might become more expensive as a lot of the nickel, palladium, and aluminum we use in our cars comes from Ukraine.

Intel is investing nearly $90 billion in European chip-making.


Cases in the US are relatively flat, but the prevalence of BA.2 is rising. Wastewater readings indicate a rise in cases could be coming:

4th doses could be coming down the pipeline for older people:

A large-scale study shows practically no risk for neurological injury from Bell’s palsy, encephalomyelitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, or transverse myelitis following COVID vaccines, but significant risk for these neurological morbidities from infection with COVID.

The rest

The Federal Reserve is likely to start raising interest rates this week as a countermeasure for rising inflation. The Fed is a little behind in taking this action, so we can probably expect serial interest rate rises.

The 2022 tornado season is forecast to be long and nasty. April is predicted to be particularly busy, and tornado activity is shifting toward the southeastern US. Start preparing for tornados now.

Conflict over freshwater resources has already begun in earnest around the globe, but few people recognize this as a harbinger for even worse conflict in the future:

Wisconsin city water grid contaminated, residents will be given bottled water and home water filters as a short-term fix.

Californians are going off-grid to escape blackouts and utility costs. Solar panels and batteries have gotten a lot less expensive, and folks’ desire to be more self-reliant is a growing cultural trend.

A 7.4 magnitude earthquake has hit Japan in the same region as the previous Fukushima disaster. Luckily there was no subsequent tsunami this time. There were scores of injuries and millions lost power.


    • Hardened

      > Wisconsin city water grid contaminated, residents told to immediately start boiling water.

      No they weren’t.  In fact, they were told that “Boiling water does not remove PFAS.

      Boiling water in this scenario is a bad idea because it concentrates PFAS.

      7 |
      • brownfox-ffContributor Hardened

        Thanks for posting the link.

        It looks like in this case they recommend activated carbon filters, or bottled water from a different source.
        I wonder if having stored water would not help in this case, as you might have stored water from your tap when the PFAS was still present, but before the advisory.

        8 |
      • Robert LarsonContributor brownfox-ff

        @brownfox-ff I like to place a strip of duct tape or painters tape on my water jugs that I fill and write the date of when I filled them. That way I know when to rotate my water and also if the city came out and said that they noticed an increase in PFAS last week, you will know if your stored water was within the dangerous time period.

        I found two additional links on PFAS written by the EPA that might help those who are interested in the topic. I didn’t know what they were, but do now.

        1. Meaningful and Achievable Steps You Can Take to Reduce Your Risk
        2. Reducing PFAS in Drinking Water with Treatment Technologies

        So from these articles, I learned that my carbon Berkey filters will help, but my BOB’s Hydroblu and Sawyer portable filters will not. I should probably get my house’s water tested yearly as well and even if the city says it’s safe, I might not be comfortable with what I find and want to look into whole house filters.

        7 |
      • brownfox-ffContributor Robert Larson

        Thanks for the links. Totally agree on labeling water jugs with the storage date.

        3 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff Hardened

        Thanks, Hardened. I’ve corrected the statement about the boil notice.

        7 |
    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

      • Plan a garden. What could you grow this year? If you don’t have a garden yet, consider what space you could use, or search your community for community gardens or allotments you could take part in.
      • Find or create a community garden. Does your area have a shared garden or community space where neighbours plant food, help, and teach each other? Could you start one?
      • Plant some trees or perennials.
      • Do your maintenance. What machines, parts, vehicles, tools, or other items do you have that need regular maintenance and care? Set a schedule or work these into your routine to make sure they keep running.
      • Get a backup or a spare. What parts or tools are the main bottlenecks for your life? Items with limited availability or that are difficult to fix: prescription drugs; car or machine parts; dental care. Can you order an extra part or find/make a backup to “flatten the curve” of disruption in your own life?
      • Get ready for tornados. Do you have a safe location to stay?
      • Think ahead to hot weather. What might you need to be ready, or more comfortable? (e.g. shade)
      • Consider a battery pack for blackouts etc.
      • Review the earthquake guide if you live near earthquakes
      • Keep building your pantry
      • Store some water in your home and/or consider a water filter. The best time to do it is before you need it.

      Have a productive weekend.

      16 |
      • M. E.Contributor brownfox-ff

        The advice to prepare to be more comfortable in hot weather is excellent. Last year I bought several rechargeable, portable battery operated fans. They’re not as good as AC but BOY they made a difference on some unusually hot days when I was away from a plug-in power source.  As with water, the time to get them is before you need them. I would put links to the ones I bought – I’m happy with them – but they are no longer available, so I’ll have to let folks do their own research.  

        5 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff M. E.

        Kudos for preparing for severe heat! Looking fwd to your recommendations.

        I just remembered from the How to survive extreme heat guide that if the air’s temperature is 95-100°, using fans can cause more harm than good because you’re moving air across the skin that is hotter than the skin itself. It doesn’t seem this is something you should be concerned with, but I just wanted to point it out as a bit of useful info 🙂

        5 |
      • Liz Klein Carlotta Susanna

        Possibly pairing your fans with a high mist squirt bottle could be a possible solution? Mist your skin to simulate sweat and then have the fans blow and evaporate it off you? 

        I will have to do some testing this summer and see if that actually works.

        1 |
      • Greg P Liz Klein

        Fans will help in a high humidity environment as they help to evaporate the sweat from your skin, but in a dry heat they are not helpful when the temperature is above body temperature.   As I remember from hot summers when I was stationed in Japan, we would soak in the tub with the cool water for about 20 minutes or so – it reduces your core temperature quite nicely (at least for a bit).  

        Let us not forget;  remembering to stay hydrated includes keeping your electrolytes in balance as well.  Keeping the old body working at maximum efficiency will keep you cooler.  

        We used to have a roof-mounted “swamp cooler” when we lived in Denver.  Turning that thing on and opening the windows would rapidly exchange the hot air in the house for somewhat cooler & more moist air – it was magnificent !  Ahh!

        4 |
      • M. E.Contributor Greg P

        Ah, yes,  every prepper should know how to make “oral rehydration solution”, and have the ingredients on hand. Here is one recipe but there are many – be sure to use a reputable source. There’s a lot of complicated reasons why this is far more effective than drinking plain water during a heat wave.  It’s basically sugar, salt, and flavoring; the correct ratios are essential.  I keep a 1 liter bottle at home specifically for making this in the correct ratios. 

        And I’ve been known to douse myself in a shower, fully clothed, and THEN stand by a fan to get that evaporative cooling effective when I had no other choice. Not sure I’d be up for the cool tub experience but I suppose if it were that or heat stroke……

        4 |
      • brekke M. E.

        I never knew what A/C was growing up. We didn’t have at home or schools. My bedroom was upstairs in a 100 year old (not remodeled) house, so I’d always get my hair wet and get a hand towel wet to wrap around my neck in order to get me to help me sleep. We’d do it at school on the super hot days too. 😊

        3 |
      • Bill Masen M. E.

        Have you considered a STUDENT Air con ??   Basically you blow a fan across a bowl of water, Very common in the 50s 60s,70s etc before aircon became common. its more effective than just blowing air around, the Evap caused by the warm air over the water helps pull heat out of the air,

        6 |
      • Liz Klein Bill Masen

        I’ve heard of people doing that but does it really make that big of a difference compared to just the fan itself? When we get a nice hot day here this summer I will have to test that out as well. Try it with a fan, with a fan and bowl of water, and then a fan with bowl of ice water and see if it’s worth the hassle.

        1 |
    • River

      High risk OB was my speciality as an RN and I’d cover newborn nursery sometimes – those images, heartbreaking. 

      3 |
    • Eric

      “Tornado activity is shifting toward the southeastern US.”

      As a Floridian this statement was concerning. We get tornadoes during hurricanes, which can be avoided by evacuating because there’s a few days notice before a hurricane. Will Florida soon have a lot more random tornadoes outside of hurricanes? The popsci article was rather unclear on what was changing, but the linked AccuWeather article included this helpful graphic. Looks like, at least for 2022, Florida is still in the clear.


      4 |
      • Carlotta SusannaStaff Eric

        My understanding is that the tornado area has shifted toward the Mississippi and Tennessee valleys. I don’t think Florida was mentioned. But that graphic is definitely useful. 

        4 |